Information Architecture – Navigation Systems
On the Web, navigation is rarely a life or death issue. However, getting lost in a large web site can be confusing and frustrating. While a well designed taxonomy may reduce the chances that users will become lost, complementary navigation tools are often needed to provide context and to allow for greater flexibility
Reading over this chapter on navigation systems was pretty straightforward about navigating through a web site. I remembered during my Library Admin class last year where there was a demonstration on using the USF library catalog. One of the first things the librarian said was to click on the site map. After the library’s home page, the next screen was a stripped down text only version of the same page. While this did not look as pretty with the graphics, the location of the information was laid out with lots of links which was a nice overview.
Taking a step back, at work, there was a project to consolidate the reference department’s files into one centralized area. In one large drawer, we had folders for ESOL classes, library locations, event evaluations etc. There is a folder for each piece of information and on top of the folder is a tab describing the content. There is no alphabetical order but one can just gaze through the tabs and see the needed folder. When I comparing this to my readings, there was a reference to different type of navigation systems. The site map reference above was consider a supplemental navigation system because it was not the primary one but an addition. The folders example would be the, “Where Can I Go?” system. Since there is no clear order but the content is labeled. Look at the UPS example below.
Like the large drawer in my reference department, the UPS site has all the information on site with many different tabs. While there is no alpha order like the drawer example this site has a clear “Where Can I Go?” system. While this works for many sites, blogs like the picture at the beginning of this entry and below can fall under Global Navigation and Where Am I navigation systems.
What does Global Navigation mean? In short, this type of navigation stays visible on every page you visit on that specific site. On my blog, as well as other blogs like the one on top of this entry, has the menu on the side or on top. As you can see, I have both menu options. I have three pages in addition to the home page. On the left, I have addition bits of information but you can also see I have a Pages section also listing the same three pages. When I look at my library’s website, there is a good deal of global navigation except once you look at the databases. The problem lies when exploring these databases, there is no way, in some cases to head back to the library’s home page. Aside finding content on a site, navigation of the site is just as important.
~ by The Monster on March 1, 2010.